Filing for a divorce is a difficult decision to make. It is rare that a person is unaware that their marriage is falling apart or that their spouse is contemplating divorce. As a result, not many people are completely blindsided to hear that their spouse would like to divorce. Below are five basic things you can do to prepare in the event you believe a divorce from your spouse is imminent. (NOTE: These five things may not necessarily apply when custody is an issue or when there is domestic violence present in the home).
- Make a list of all of the property you and your spouse own and try to determine its current value. Certainly, you do not need to count every piece of silverware and jewelry. It may be best to make separate your property into categories (i.e. vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, household furniture). This will help you and your future attorney evaluate the case and determine the best method for dividing assets;
- Determine your monthly expenses. This includes estimating what you pay each month for shelter, entertainment, medical insurance, medical bills, groceries, and all other expense that you pay monthly. This is helpful to determine issues of support, but also, it is always beneficial to have a handle on how much money it takes to maintain your household;
- Obtain as much proof of income as possible. This would include collecting your most recent tax returns, paystubs, W-2’s and other financial information. Each parties’ yearly income is relevant in a divorce action, and at some point, you may need to submit this information to the Court;
- Talk to your spouse. This step only applies if you feel safe speaking with your spouse about these issues and there is no domestic violence present in your home. Having the “divorce talk” is never easy, but resolving as many issues relating to the divorce as possible at the outset could make your divorce quicker and easier. Even though you will no longer be romantically involved, you and your spouse are still financially intertwined and resolving as many outstanding financial issues as possible will be beneficial in the long run; and
- Talk to a lawyer. Even if you are not certain that you would like to proceed with a divorce at the time, it is necessary to understand your rights in the event you get divorced. Even though divorce is a family issue, it is still a complex legal proceeding and speaking with a lawyer will give you a better picture of what you should expect in a divorce case. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case. Contact us at [email protected].
WARNING: THIS IS A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF LAW AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE LEGAL ADVICE. FOR ANY LEGAL QUESTIONS PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE AND SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY. IF YOU ARE SEEKING TO MODIFY A CUSTODY ORDER OR PARENTING TIME, CONTACT US.